Category Archives: Wildlife

Obama Administration Nixes Importation of Beluga Whales

beluga-Pt-Defiance_robin_angliss_300The Obama administration has just done an unreservedly good thing: turned down Georgia Aquarium’s application to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for public display at its own facility in Atlanta and at partner facilities, including SeaWorld of Florida, SeaWorld of Texas, SeaWorld of California and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that importing these animals would contravene the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and that beluga populations had to be protected from the continued depletion of live captures. The rejection gave the following reasons:

  • NOAA Fisheries is unable to determine whether or not the proposed importation, by itself or in combination with other activities, would have a significant adverse impact on the Sakhalin-Amur beluga whale stock, the population that these whales are taken from;
  • NOAA Fisheries determined that the requested import will likely result in the taking of marine mammals beyond those authorized by the permit [i.e. it would encourage further live capture hunts];
  • NOAA Fisheries determined that five of the beluga whales proposed for import, estimated to be approximately 1½ years old at the time of capture, were potentially still nursing and not yet independent.

Beluga whales are highly social, playful animals that live and migrate in groups of ten to several hundred in the arctic and subarctic waters of Russia, Greenland and North America. Beluga whales face a number of threats including ship strikes, pollution, noise, habitat destruction and entanglement in fishing gear — in addition to live capture. Beluga hunts, like orca hunts, drive the whales into nets and rely on mother-child bonds to capture entire pods. In captivity belugas, like orcas, have greatly reduced lifespans.

Had this importation permit been issued, it would have been seen as a U.S endorsement of the cruel and unsustainable live capture industry. This decision effectively discourages the industry by closing off the U.S. as a market.

Btw…NOAA received close to TEN THOUSAND letters and emails during its 60-day public hearing period on this proposed beluga whale importation last year. If you were one of those who wrote in…see what you did. If you were not…see what you can do next time :-)

 

Puget Sound Orcas to Retain Protection

The distinct population group of orcas who spend their summers in Puget Sound are to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced last week. California farmers had petitioned to delist the orcas because of the water restrictions to protect Sacramento River salmon, eaten by the orcas. NOAA spent a year reviewing the petition and finally rejected it, saying the Puget Sound orcas — who have their own food source, customs and language and do not interbreed with others — were most definitely a threatened subgroup.

About 80 orcas in three pods spend most of the year in the area, down from over 100 in the 1990s. They are enormously popular with tourists, and already suffer from shipping, pollution, noise and declining food.

And now also from the lawyers who plan to continue their fight to strip them of protection.

 

Giant Pacific Octopus Receives Protection

 

This month the Washington State Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to set aside seven protected areas for  the hitherto-unprotected Giant Pacific Octopus: Redondo Beach in Des Moines; Three Tree Point in Burien; Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2, and 3 (in West Seattle); an area adjacent to the Les Davis Fishing Pier in Tacoma; the Alki Beach Junk Yard in West Seattle; the Days Island Wall in Tacoma; and Deception Pass north of Oak Harbor. The new rules will take effect this fall.
This was set in motion when two so-called ‘sport fishermen’ caught such an octopus in West Seattle last October and dragged it on land, still alive, where they proceeded to beat it in front of onlookers and finally threw it in their truck.
If you were one of the people outraged by this, and who made your outrage known, then this is your doing — good for you. The fact that the protection is not 100% doubtlessly has to do with the fact that the ‘sport fishermen’ weighed in on the decision.

Protect Washington's Wolf Plan and Save Wolves

From the Center for Biological Diversity

Action: Please tell the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission not to expand wolf killing but instead focus on making the 2011 plan law.

You can sign an online petition or contact the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at (360) 902-2267 or commission@dfw.wa.gov.

Here’s the scoop:

Washington’s wolves are making a comeback. After an extensive, five-year public process, a state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan was developed to help the wolves. Instead of making the wolf plan legally enforceable, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering proposals to increase cases where wolves can be killed and when compensation is paid after wolf predation on domestic animals. The parts of the plan that protect wolves aren’t being considered, and a meeting has been planned for Aug. 2 to make a decision on the proposed changes.

Please tell the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission not to expand wolf killing but instead focus on making the 2011 plan law. If you can, join the Center’s West Coast Wolf Organizer, Amaroq Weiss, at the hearing in Olympia on Friday, Aug. 2 and speak up for wolves in person.

Stand up for the wolf plan and for Washington’s wolves and reject these unjustified, one-sided proposals.

India: Dolphins "Non-Human Persons"

 

India has become the first country on earth to officially recognize that dolphins are “non-human persons”.  As you know, the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forests banned dolphin captivity earlier this year, calling it “morally unacceptable” due to their high intelligence and sensitivity.

“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations..” — Henry Beston

 

 

Geese Killed at Lake Sammamish State Park

Action for Animals recently found out about geese being killed at Lake Sammamish State Park. Read on for details and how you can help stop this in the future.

A few weeks ago Washington State Parks used USDA Wildlife Services to kill geese at Lake Sammamish State Park. They didn’t give the public any notice or any opportunity to comment.

geese

USDA Wildlife Services cruelly rounds up geese when the adults start to molt and can’t fly. USDA then herd the adults and babies into pens. If they are still doing what they did in the past when they were killing geese in the Seattle parks, the geese are shoved into gas chambers in the back of the USDA trucks.

The gas chambers weren’t designed for large birds like geese. The chambers are too small for the geese to stand upright prior to being gassed to death. Multiple geese are stuffed into the chamber at the same time while frantically struggling and trying to escape. Of course this is all done under a cloak of secrecy, so people are unaware of what’s being done or how.

There are many humane alternatives that work well when used together. Killing the geese only creates a temporary solution, because other geese will move in, resulting in an endless cycle of killing.

Geese at all of the Washington State Parks are in danger. If they are killing geese at Lake Sammamish State Park, they are probably killing them in the other state parks as well.

TAKE ACTION:
Please contact officials at Washington State Parks and tell them to stop the endless cycle of killing and to come up with a focused well thought out, comprehensive plan that uses humane alternatives. Killing is unacceptable and we must do a better job of sharing the earth with wildlife.

Rich Benson
Lake Sammamish State Park Manager
Phone: 425-649-4275
Email: Richard.Benson@PARKS.WA.GOV

Andrew Fielding
Washington State Parks Resource Steward
Phone: 509-665-4312
Email: Andrew.Fielding@PARKS.WA.GOV

Don Hock
Washington State Parks Director
Phone: 360-902-8844
Email: Don.Hoch@PARKS.WA.GOV

Also, please sign AFA’s online petition:
http://www.change.org/petitions/washington-state-parks-officials-stop-killing-geese

Thank you!

WWF Supports Seal Massacre

Just letting you know, in case there was anyone left who still thought the WWF was in it for the animals. It has long been a haven for big game hunters, trappers, hunters, fur farmers, commercial fishing operations, and other animal abusers. It supports both the commercial slaughter and the ‘recreational’ killing of wildlife. In their own words: “We support the hunting and consumption of wild animals provided the harvesting does not threaten the long-term survival of wildlife populations. The WWF has never opposed a sustainable seal hunt in northern or eastern Canada.”
In fact, the WWF has endorsed the worst massacre of marine mammals on the planet: the Canadian government now subsidizes the largest seal slaughter since the 1800s, with a quota of 350,000 a year for three years. There is nothing “sustainable” about this and the government has not produced one peer-reviewed scientific study to justify such numbers. Yet, the World Wildlife Fund endorses it.
So quietly cancel your membership and pretend you knew all along. But when you do, be sure to let the WWF****** know EXACTLY why (or tell them why you never WILL have a membership):
For questions or concerns related to membership or donations, please email gifts@wwfcanada.org.
For questions or concerns related to WWF’s conservation programs, please email panda@wwfcanada.org.
You can also reach them by mail, phone or fax:
WWF Canada
245 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 410 Toronto, ON
M4P 3J1 Canada
Phone: 1-800-26-PANDA
In the Toronto area: (416) 489-8800
Fax: (416) 489-8055

Geese Kills Resume

 
(Courtesy of Action for Animals) A few weeks ago Washington State Parks used USDA Wildlife Services to get rid of geese at Lake Sammamish State Park.  There was no notice given to the public or any opportunity to comment.They know why not.
“Relocated” was the word used, surely a prizewinning euphemism, since the only place the USDA “relocates” to is gas chambers on the backs of their trucks.  This means that geese everywhere here are once more in danger; Lake Sammamish will not an isolated incident.
The thing is, with geese as with other wildlife, lethal methods of control do not work. Killing geese only creates the illusion of a fix, as other geese quickly fill the ‘hole’ created, thus ensuring an endless cycle of killing. There are many non-lethal methods of control that have been shown to be effective across the nation, include hazing of various kinds, egg-addling, planting vegetation, etc. Of course, none of them are as easy as paying someone else to just drive in and kill them all.
We must take action NOW.
Most of all, contact officials at Washington State Parks.  Tell them to stop resorting to killing to solve problems that have humane solutions. Tell them what you think of rounding up terrified families and gassing them. Maybe not exactly what you think…but some of it.
Rich Benson
Lake Sammamish State Park Manager
Phone: 425-649-4275
Andrew Fielding
Washington State Parks Resource Steward
Phone: 509-665-4312
Don Hock
Washington State Parks Director
Phone: 360-902-8844
 

Belgium bans wild animals in circuses

On the heels of Great Britian, Greece, Austria, Slovenia, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, the Belgian government has approved a new law that bans all wild animals from circuses.

Circus tent

The ban still must be approved by Parliament, but with 130 cities and municipalities already refusing circuses with wild animals, it shouldn’t be a tough sell.

Animal activists in Belgium have worked hard for this day. They knew that animals’ needs couldn’t be met in a circus and they worked with the people and government to implement the ban.

Circuses with animal acts take note: This is the direction of the future of entertainment. Change with the times or get left behind.

Morro Bay Aquarium in CA Closes

City officials of Morro Bay, CA, have voted not to renew the lease of the 50-year-old Morro Bay Aquarium.  In the ocean, harbor seals can dive more than 650 feet and stay underwater for 10 minutes at a time. Sea lions are social animals by nature, and form colonies, where they live and play together and can swim at a rate of 7 mph. For decades, the sea lions, seals, and fish at the Morro Bay Aquarium have been imprisoned in barren concrete cells only a few feet wide and a few feet deep. During the last three years alone, the facility received sixteen citations for not meeting even the minimum federal standards of care (goodness knows hardly stringent) — including failing to feed a significantly underweight sea lion properly and putting a harbor seal in a 20-inch deep pool.Courtesy: PETA

According to PETA, who was instrumental in the closure, “The Morro Bay Aquarium’s barren, shallow display tanks deprive seals and sea lions of everything that they need to survive and thrive, including room to swim, depth to dive, and the companionship of their families.” According to the aquarium owner, Bertha Tyler, “They want to do something that is not the truth. They are selling stories that are not sold because I know our animals have lived here a long time. We have one that’s Maggie. She is 28 years old and we also have had them live to 32 years old but they don’t say that.”

Just saying…that’s what she said.